Vernazza Updates:

Vernazza is well on its way to normalcy and while I no longer write updates on their status, you can learn about the devastating floods of 2011 by clicking the label "Vernazza Updates". For the latest information from the organizations in Vernazza and Monterosso, visit SaveVernazza and Rebuild Monterosso.

25 March 2011

Strawberry Pan d'Oro


This is called Pan d’oro, or golden bread. It is a panettone, which is a sweet bread, but it is not the classic one we know with the round top, raisins and candied fruit pieces. This is a very tall, star-shaped and airy vanilla bread from Verona that is served covered in zucchero vanigliato, or vanilla scented powdered sugar. Are your teeth hurting yet? Yeah, it’s sweet. It’s a favorite with the kids not only for the sweet bread factor, but also because it’s fun to shake it up in the bag with the sugar. There are always volunteers for that! 

03 March 2011

La Polentata!


Before leaving for a trip back to the US, I was invited to join my cousin and his family and friends for la polentata, or polenta party. They live just outside of Rome and I was going to pass a few days with them before my flight out. I was very excited at the prospect of joining a real polenta party! I’ve never been to one, and even though my in-laws questioned why I was going to Rome for a polenta party, I couldn’t wait! Italians are very particular about traditional dishes and some think that polenta just can't be made outside of Lombardia (the region that is known for polenta). But seriously, it’s cornmeal in a box…something that can be made anywhere—even as FAR AWAY as Rome.

01 March 2011

Marvelous Movers


Italian cities are cluttered with large apartment buildings, narrow streets and many old buildings with 5-7 stories, often without an elevator. The buildings lucky enough to have elevators are only made for a maximum of two to four people. If you have ever been inside an Italian apartment building elevator, you know how cramped it can be. When my in-laws come home from grocery shopping, they load their tiny elevator with the bags and my mother-in-law rides it up while my father-in-law takes the stairs!

So in my curiosity of wondering how things work, I have always wondered how people move their furniture into high floor apartments. Plus, Italians have large pieces of furniture; in part because the standard for ceiling height is at least ten feet. They have entertainment units aptly called parete (meaning wall) because it fills an entire wall; an armadio, or wardrobe, for each bedroom that is at least eight feet tall and also covers an entire wall; dining room furniture, couches etc. I have found myself scratching my head many times trying to figure out how they move these monoliths from one place to another. And you never see people moving in or struggling to carry furniture up the stairs--so how do they do it?

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